James O'Brien

Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks

Lightning sign Tambellini to one-year, two-way deal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Jeff Tambellini to a one-year, two-way contract on Sunday.

Tambellini has plenty of NHL experience, with 242 regular season games under his belt. That said, he hasn’t played in NHL games since 2010-11, when he scored 17 points in 62 contests with the Vancouver Canucks.

The 31-year-old has been bouncing around overseas since then, including 2014-15, when he split time between Switzerland and Sweden.

One would assume that Tambellini’s time will be spent largely (if not entirely) in the AHL, but he also provides some injury insurance for Tampa Bay.

Clune is set to attend Leafs camp after signing with AHL’s Marlies

Rich Clune
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Rich Clune signed with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, who noted that the gritty winger is also expected to attend the Maple Leafs’ upcoming training camp.

Clune, 28, was already the type of hard-nosed player that fans often get behind, but his soul-searching article with The Players’ Tribune only made him easier to root for.

He really exposed some painful truths in that beautifully written piece:

Between the ages of 15-24, I was not here. I was checked out. I did not exist. Rich Clune the pro hockey player existed. He got in over 150 fights and drove drunk and chased women and laughed and cried and lived in oblivion. But Rich Clune, the kid who loved art and film and read books and thought deeply about life, that guy was just not around. He couldn’t cope with the pressure.

Then one day, he woke up. I wish I could tell you it was when L.A. Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall pulled me aside and said, point blank, “Rich, do you want me to get you some help?” I wish it was when my parents begged me for the millionth time. But it wasn’t like a movie. One day, I just woke up and had enough.

By no means has Clune dropped the gloves after becoming sober. Clune fought 17 times at the AHL level (and once in the NHL’s preseason) during the 2014-15 season, according to Hockey Fights.

He’s been with the Nashville Predators organization since 2012-13, spending last season primarily with the Milwaukee Admirals. He did spend most of 2013-14 with Nashville, however, generating seven points and 166 PIM in 58 games.

The Leafs are going younger and cheaper, yet during this rebuilding process, it’s plausible that Clune might get some NHL reps. He’ll certainly have some people behind him as he tries to do so, too.

Columnist: O’Reilly deal could be costly for Rangers with Stepan

stepan1000
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Derek Stepan might lack a little in the way of negotiating power as a restricted free agent, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes that he recently received a big boost in leverage.

In Brooks’ mind, the big seven-year, $52 million deal ($7.5 million cap hit) Ryan O’Reilly signed with the Buffalo Sabres will leave the New York Rangers in a “cap vise” thanks to its comparables regarding Stepan:

A number than starts with a “7” for Stepan is all but untenable for the Rangers as they are constructed. An award that’s closer to starting with an “8” than a “7” would place the ’15-16 Blueshirts’ roster in a cap vise. Beyond that, an arbitration award almost certainly starts the clock ticking on Stepan’s Broadway expiration date two years hence.

As Brooks notes, it’s plausible that Stepan, 25, may indeed file for salary arbitration by today’s deadline.

Even if this doomsday scenario gets downgraded to things being really tight, Brooks has a point about possible domino effects for the Rangers. General Fanager pegs the Rangers’ cap space at about $10.2 million, so anything in the $7 million range would start to make things uncomfortable, especially since New York still has other RFAs to consider in J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and Jesper Fast.

Could that force the team’s hand in trading someone like Keith Yandle? Might the Rangers need to make more like the Chicago Blackhawks and move Stepan’s rights instead?

Yes, this speculation could turn out to be excessive worrying, especially if Stepan decided to take a slight “hometown discount” to stay on a contending team/help keep his team in contention.

Even so, if Stepan’s reps use O’Reilly’s extension as a measuring stick, the Rangers might indeed be sweating it.

Report: Wild’s Haula files for arbitration

haulagetty
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Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula filed for salary arbitration on Sunday, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

In case you’re not seasoned in this phase of the offseason, here’s a reminder: the Wild and Haula could reach an agreement before a hearing takes place. In fact, it’s not that uncommon for agreements to take place mere hours before scheduled discussions.

(As you may also know, it’s generally preferred to avoid the sometimes-arduous, bridge-burning elements of arbitration, too.)

Haula’s earning power is tough to gauge. Here’s how his expiring contract broke down in both 2013-14 and 2014-15: $900K salary at the NHL level, $67,500 in the AHL, $850K performance bonus and $90K signing bonus.

The 24-year-old scored seven goals and 14 points in 72 games with the Wild last season while also generating a goal in two postseason contests. His calling card would likely be the 2014 playoffs, as he scored four goals and seven points in 13 playoff games.

We’ll see if the two sides can hash out an agreement. If not, an arbitrator might need to determine how that production would translate into a contract.

Boy, the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly taking Reilly rejection in stride

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky
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Not every Columbus Blue Jackets player has submitted a bitter tweet about Mike Reilly signing with the Minnesota Wild (yet?), but a couple of them are coming across as jilted lovers.

It started out with what almost felt like a “subtweet” on June 17, as Ryan Johansen simply said “We didn’t want him anyway.”

Apparently that bitterness lingered over the holiday weekend, as Brandon Dubinsky (pictured fighting Sidney Crosby in the main image) chimed in last night.

(The #burntbridges hash tag seems like the height of the “sour grapes” angle, at least if you’re looking at this in terms of a bitter breakup.)

Dubinsky’s tweet prompted plenty of responses, and he even had a little give-and-take:

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo wondered if, erm, the holiday spirit(s) might have been involved:

(Dubinsky is from Alaska, so he may have been celebrating the Fourth of July. Just saying …)

Anyway, it’s all in salty-good fun, right? The Blue Jackets face Minnesota in a preseason game on Sep. 24, then in two regular season contests on Oct. 22 and Jan. 5. Perhaps we’ll see at least one contest that features Reilly, Johansen and Dubinsky entering on-ice @-replies, then?

Maybe Dubinsky’s just bitter about this “coaching decision,” though: